Now that her support from Drouet is gone, Carrie realizes that she only has seven dollars. She begins looking for work as an actress. Two theater managers tell her that, as a beginner, she should start in New York. She writes Hurstwood to say that she cannot have anything more to do with him. She tries to get work in the department stores, but they are still looking for women with experience.
Carrie returns to discover that Drouet has come to get some of his things. He had waited in the apartment, hoping to catch her there under the pretense of gathering his belongings and have a chance to make up with her. When she failed to arrive, he left, planning to call on her the next day.
Hurstwood receives Carrie's letter and resolves to win back her love. He learns that Drouet is no longer living at the apartment with her, so he assumes they have argued and parted ways. He returns to work. After closing, he checks all of the cash drawers and the safe. He discovers that the safe has been left unlocked, leaving ten thousand dollars in cash unprotected.
Hurstwood knows that Julia probably will get everything in the divorce. Even though he and Carrie could live for years on the ten thousand dollars he finds in the safe, he decides to leave it where he found it. However, the safe clicks shut while the money is still in his hands. Hurstwood has never been given the combination to the safe, so he will probably get in trouble for removing the money from the safe. He flees the saloon with the money.
Hurstwood rushes to Carrie's apartment. He tells Carrie that Drouet is in the hospital with a serious injury and that he wants to see her. She hurries out with him, and Hurstwood takes her to the train station. Carrie unknowingly follows him onto a train headed to Detroit. She slowly realizes that Hurstwood has lied to her and demands that he let her go. Hurstwood pleads with her to run away with him to Montreal. He says that he is divorcing his wife and promises to marry Carrie right away. She agrees to go with him. He says nothing about the stolen money.
Hurstwood rents a hotel room in Montreal under an assumed name. He notices a man surveying him in the hotel lobby. After taking Carrie out to breakfast, Hurstwood reads the Chicago papers. His crime is reported in a small article. Soon after, a detective accosts Hurstwood in his hotel room. He tells Hurstwood that he cannot be arrested in Canada, but that the Montreal newspapers will certainly have a field day with his story if they discover him. In order to prevent the scandal, Hurstwood sends back most of the money with a letter explaining that he was drunk when he stole it. He hints that he would like his job back. Hurstwood and Carrie marry under the name of Wheeler. Fitzgerald and Moy write back to say they bear him no ill will, but that they are not sure whether they are willing to take him back.